Melissa Fumero isn’t a stranger to comedy. The actress, who rose to fame thanks to her role as Amy Santiago in the cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is now starring in the new Netflix comedy Blockbuster – a comedy that centers around, you guessed it, the last Blockbuster on Earth. Remezcla had a chance to talk to Fumero about her new show, the similarities between her new character Eliza and the character we all know her as – Amy, and what roles she’d like to tackle in the future.
First things first – for Melissa, that future is far away. For now, she’s committed to Blockbuster, and to showrunner Vanessa Ramos’s vision. Ramos, who Fumero connected with on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, was someone who Fumero “met and wanted to be friends with right away,” which made it so much easier to say yes when Ramos approached her to play Eliza in this new comedy. Of course, it helped that “the script was so good,” and the cast so diverse.
It’s a far cry from where Fumero started, back when the idea that a network show would cast both her and Stephanie Beatriz in the aforementioned Brooklyn Nine-Nine seemed like a breakthrough. Fumero stressed that we have indeed “come a long way in the last decade,” even if we still have a ways to go representation-wise. And one of the reasons, for her, is the fact that there has been “a community” of Latine women “supporting each other, uplifting each other” and just being there for each other, one she has been lucky to be part of.
But whether it’s playing Amy before, or Eliza now, Fumero stressed she’s very happy to be telling stories that are about the women in our communities but aren’t just about the character’s identity. “There’s a place and a need for both,” she stressed, but there’s a particular joy in “the normalization” of who we are. “Because that’s a step forward too.” To not be seen as the other, especially when so many things in our daily lives look exactly the same as everyone else’s.
Fumero, who plays Eliza, a dedicated mother whose marriage is on the rocks, and who finds herself back at the Blockbuster where she worked during high school, felt a connection to Eliza right away, calling her a “more relatable character” than Amy Santiago, who was not just “an overachiever,” but also a character who always “had it all together,” and who, in fact, had things so figured out that it was a little intimidating.
And because, in many ways, Amy Santiago is a superhero – and one of the first characters on TV that made many of us feel seen – we had to ask Fumero her reaction to seeing so many faces from our communities in big properties – like the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, or Andor, the latter which is available now. Melissa, who called herself “a big fan” of both the superhero genre and the sci-fi fantasy that is Star Wars, shared with us that she would love to one day step into the world of these big properties.
“I wouldn’t even complain about all the makeup time,” she told us, “or the outfits.” Big words considering all the spandex that might be involved. In fact, she would take just about any role Marvel or Star Wars wanted to offer her. But, in the meantime, she’s happy to live in the sitcom world, and perhaps, in the future, try some new things, as long as “the scripts are good and I can do something different.”
The first season of Blockbuster, which stars Melissa Fumero, is now available to stream on Netflix.